• Review: Jerry Marcantelís Chuck Plate

    A little while ago, fellow Creeker, Jerry Marcantel, sent me some great wood along with a couple of his Chuck Plates for me to try out. Unfortunately, it took me until today to get some other projects out of the shop and free up my lathe. Sorry about the delay Jerry! To be honest, I wasnít too sure about trying out another means of securing a green wood to the lathe, but Jerry convinced me to give it a try.

    I grabbed a small board of Mesquite that Jerry had sent and ran a couple of lines from opposing corners to approximate the center location.

    Jerry had mentioned that he mounts the wood to the Chuck Plate (CP) by tapping it onto the extended screws and then brings the tailstock up to apply pressure and secure the wood in place. Well, I wanted to make sure the Chuck Plate was centered on the board as much as possible, so I attached the CP off lathe by centering the plate and tapping in place with a rubber mallet. Worked slick!

    I then placed the CP into my Talon chuck, tightened it securely and brought up the tailstock for support.

    I had never seen anything quite like this before, so just to be safe, I stood at the far end of the lathe and flipped the remote switch on to verify the chunk of Mesquite was not going to launch. It didnít!

    So, I then set up the tool rest and started turning. I have to admit that the first few clean-up passes with the bowl gouge were fairly light as I didnít want to break the wood loose. I also stopped and checked the work often just to make sure everything was still secure Ė it was!

    Feeling a little more confident, I then started removing wood just like normal and the CP held solid! Did a few clean-up passes, turned the tenon and stopped the lathe to check how well things were holding.

    Everything looked great, so I pulled the tailstock out of the way and again checked how well the CP was holding the wood. Seriously, that wood was stuck on the CP, so I turned the lathe back on and cleaned up the tenon!

    That was all I wanted to do on the back side of the Mesquite, so I shut everything down and pulled the wood off the Chuck Plate.

    I have to tell you, this chuck plate held the wood great! Another thing, I didnít have the screw points fully embedded. I only used about 1/8" and those small holes will be real easy to turn out when finishing the face of the wood!

    Normally I use a woodworm screw on green wood, or a faceplate for those larger blanks, but with a board of this limited thickness, neither of those methods were an option. So, that meant my only options--before the Chuck Plate--were turning the blank between centers or using a jam chuck of some type. Believe me, the chuck plate is a lot easier and a lot more secure to use!

    I also can see where the chuck plate would come in real handy when roughing out bowl/hollow form blanks because you can stop at any time and rotate the blank to play with grain orientations. Usually using a faceplate or woodworm screw prevents you from taking advantage of another grain orientation once youíve started because of the screw holes created when you use them.

    So, Jerry, I really appreciate the opportunity to check out/test your Chuck Plate! It is a good design, simple to use and one that really grabs and holds the wood! Bottom line: I really like it and will be using it instead of the woodworm screw or faceplate from this point forward! (ahÖ that means I am not sending it back!!)

    Thank you!!! I hope folks flood you with questions about your Chuck Plate design! In my opinion, this is a simple jig that should be in every shop!

    Steve Schlumpf
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Jerry Marcantel's Avatar
      Jerry Marcantel -
      Steve, I hope I misunderstood you when you said you removed the tailstock, checked how it was holding. Then you said you turned the lathe back on, and finished the tenon.... Oooh Boy, you are never supposed to use that CP without the tailstock...... I hope I misunderstood....
      What I do is mark my center on the tenon side, and if the face is reasonably flat, I bring the tailstock to the center, screw it to the marks and and apply pressure until it's secure on the Chuck Plate screws,(depth is not crucial, as long as you have at least 4-5 screws making contact)) tap the wood a couple or more times, and tighten the tailstock some more.. Proceed to turn your project you just mounted on your lathe. Never turn it on unless the tailstock is securing the piece..
      I'm glad you finally used it, and thanks for the glowing report. I just made 2 dozen, and they are the same as the one you have, but the screws are all #8's, and the quality is much better.... When I made yours, I was under pressure by bad weather, didn't the right screws, and used some old Baltic, which split out around the screw holes and around the edge.. I work outdoors, and have limited weather protection..... Jerry (in Tucson)
    1. Steve Schlumpf's Avatar
      Steve Schlumpf -
      Jerry - I know that you should always use the tailstock for support - but - in this case I did pull it out of the way to clean up the small nub on the center of the tenon. I had checked the wood before cleaning the tenon to make sure it was securely on the CP and I figured that seeing as how I was applying pressure with the gouge towards the chuck - it would be OK for that limited amount of time. It is highly likely that I just lucked out this first time around and will make a point of using the tailstock from this point on!
    1. Jim Kountz's Avatar
      Jim Kountz -
      Interesting concept and a very well done review, I think I may have to add one of these to my shop. Thanks guys!!
    1. David Walser's Avatar
      David Walser -

      That's an interesting and useful jig. Thank you for the idea.


      In addition to Jerry's Chuck Plate, turning between centers, and a jam chuck, you can also use a glue block. The advantage of Jerry's design over a glue block would appear to be quickness. Both a glue block and a Chuck Plate allow you to mount a blank on the lathe without wasting much, if any, of the blank.
    1. Roger Chandler's Avatar
      Roger Chandler -
      Great info here! I am waiting to receive Jerry's latest edition of this chuck plate in the mail.......this one made of metal!!!

      I appreciate the review and the "how to" aspects you shared Steve!
    1. john Woods's Avatar
      john Woods -
      Steve, where do i find your original article hiw to build a vacuum chuck? Please email me a link to it. john@cookislandsnews.com